Sample Pimsleur Lesson Plans

Pimsleur Comprehensive 1/day - 1/2 hour
Flashcards - 10-20 words/day 5-10 minutes
Reading Material - 15 minutes
Radio/TV/Internet Radio - 15 minutes
Other Supplements/Methods - 15 minutes

The Pimsleur all-audio program has a built-in lesson plan - you simply listen to one half-hour lesson everyday and follow the instructions. You can repeat a lesson but you can't jump around and listen to lessons at random.

Pimsleur recommends not using a dictionary while listening to their program. This makes sense as it would distract you from paying full attention to the sounds of the material. But they also mean during the instruction period in general, for as long as you use the Pimsleur program until the end. The danger is, they feel, that you will begin to pronounce the words with more of an English pronunciation, because you will begin to associate the foreign words that you hear with the written word (and the English letters that you are so familiar with), and you will substitute your own Anglicized sounds. I think that if you are careful with your pronunciation, and you do the work on the Pimsleur tapes diligently, this will not be a problem. Personally, I found using written material very helpful while using the Pimsleur program. Never while listening to it of course.

I would recommend not adding supplements until a few weeks into the course. By then you will have your accent shaping up, and the program really starts moving. Your increasing excitement level will carry over into some new sources of information. Start using flashcards, reading material and other listening materials, either TV, radio, internet radio or even other audio courses or language methods. You will begin encountering much of the same material the Pimsleur program is teaching you, and you will also hear and read new material and new vocabulary.

Pimsleur with another method

Pimsleur Comprehensive 1/day - 1/2 hour in car etc.
Flashcards - 10-20 words/day 5-10 minutes
Living Language Basic Complete - 2/week - 1/2 hour
Reading Material - 15 minutes
Radio/TV/Internet Radio - 15 minutes

Much of the material covered in Pimsleur is paralleled in Living Language Basic. Living Language provides variations and alternates of the same dialogues, greetings etc, and expands vocabulary. You will learn the core vocabulary in Pimsleur quickly because you are constantly using it, and encountering it in several sources. Try to use Living Language to expand that vocab and incorporate it into your flashcard review sessions and even speaking.

Allowing for roughly 5 days/week for the Pimsleur program (if you miss a day or two, make sure you review the previous lesson before continuing!) after 90 - 120 days (3-4 months ) you will have better than basic speaking and listening ability, with an expanded vocabulary over the Pimsleur system alone. Begin to focus more on media use (TV, movies, music, radio, internet radio, newspapers, magazines, books etc) more proactively. Look up words you don't know, figure out how to conjugate new verbs etc., and incorporate these into flashcard review and speaking.

You can also substitute some other inexpensive method for Living Language, such as Teach Yourself, Hugo's or an old high school or college textbook.

Expanding on the Pimsleur Vocabulary

The one major weakness of the Pimsleur program is the lack of vocabulary. The whole 3-level course may only use about 500 words, and you need about 2000 or more to function on a daily basis in a language. Using a book or textbook-based method as a supplement is one inexpensive way to expand on that vocabulary. Another possibility I have recently encountered is the Vocabulearn series by Penton. These are audio tapes or cd's with 1500-2500 vocabulary words or phrases on each level, with up to 3 levels for some languages. This might be a great way to expand vocabulary, especially for someone accustomed to the ease of the Pimsleur system, and they are not too expensive.

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